Guest Post: Americans lost a record $2.7 billion to investment scams in 2022

With the appearance of new promising technologies, like NFTs and blockchain, many unique investment opportunities have sprung up in the last couple of years. Unfortunately, a significant portion of those companies do not have the investor’s best interests in mind.

The rapid evolution of the world wide web and the commercial world in general outpaced security measures that were supposed to protect individuals from getting abused in these types of deals.

A study carried out by Atlas VPN reveals that issues pertaining to online fraud are most severe in the business investment category.

The most recent figures from the Federal Trade Commission show that US citizens lost a whopping $2.66 billion to various types of investment scams in Q1-Q3 2022, representing a 50% increase over $1.77 billion lost in 2021.

From an even wider perspective, investment fraud in the US skyrocketed by 28 times in the last 5 years

In other words, since 2018, investment fraud has been growing by, on average, 149% per year.  

The increasing severity of the issue is also seen in the number of complaints submitted to the FTC. 

In the first three-quarters of 2022, the FTC received nearly 80 thousand investment fraud reports, out of which 74% indicated a financial loss. 

In contrast, in 2018, FTC received less than 15 thousand complaints, with 54% of them noting damages.

Social media and crypto payments

Most investment fraud victims transfer funds in the form of cryptocurrencies, which are notoriously hard to track down and get back because the whole system is based on anonymity and decentralization. 

In addition, threat actors can employ various services, like cryptocurrency tumblers, to cover their tracks to the point of virtually becoming untraceable. 

In these cases, privacy granted by the blockchain system is working against the victims and in favor of criminals. 

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